How do I care for cold cast marble statues? Tips and tricks.

Can this statue go in the outside in the garden? How can I care for this marble statue? How do I clean or polish this statue? These are some of the most frequent questions we are asked about our cold cast marble products. As we are the people who make these pieces, we feel that we are the best placed to tell you  what you need to know.  I am going to try and demystify the care of a marble statue in this blog.

 Polishing cold cast marble on a buffing wheel
To begin, we make statues in what is known as cold cast marble but we prefer to say reconstituted marble, as from powder we make a solid stone piece. The process of making the piece means that we go from powder, to liquid with the addition of a 2 part glue, to a solid with a pass through the oven. What this means for you the end user and lover of fine things, is that you have a really well tempered and durable statue.

Can my statue go outside?

The simple answer is, yes. It will survive just fine outdoors.   

Remember it has been tempered in an oven so will take the  changes in temperature that both winter and summer can bring, we have sold our statues worldwide for over 25 years now and not yet had  a report of a statue cracking under heat or cold. So we feel we can say yes,  you can put your statue outdoors with total confidence. What will happen to it when it lives permanently outdoors though, is that it will change with contact to the elements.  


I have a large green marble Buddha who has guarded the door outside my sewing workshop for the last 18 years. He ended up there after an unfortunate tumble meant he broke a foot and couldn’t be sold. Over time with rain, sun and snow he has changed colour somewhat. He is now a lovely silver grey green with darker flecks of green marble showing through and his finish is somewhat rougher than when he was first polished. I rather like the effect of the weather it adds to his life story.


Here is what the green marble looks like when 1st polished

Green marble Feng shui Toad

Here  is how my green marble Buddha looks  after his 18 year vigil outside the door, as you can see it rained last night and his feet are still damp.


Cold cast Green Marble Buddha outdoors.

White cold cast marble outside will take on the elements in a similar way but the results will probably be more obvious. On top of our Worksop roof is a Grace state that Howard put up there to test the effects of the weather and time.  In the same way as my guardian Buddha, she has lost shine and gained the colours of nature and is just as lovely as before in a different way.


Grace . Large cold cast Marble Bust, result of being outdoors. Verdigris
If I wanted to restore her shine, I could rub her over with grades of wet and dry finishing paper and then polish her again under the buffing mops we use to bring her lustre back.

The effect of weather and outdoors on cold cast marble. Large Bust.
What about our exclusive cold cast  marble with a skin of bronze?



This is a different  finish we use real bronze on top of our reconstituted marble. When we sell these they are nearly always shiny as they have come straight from the workshop. In practical terms you have 2 choices with this type of finish. 

The 1st choice is to do nothing.

The natural progression of bronze in the air means that it will oxidise, think of the big statues in major cities covered in natural verdigris. This takes time and will give a lovely finish but won’t look as it was when it was shiny. Here is an example of a Buddha that has been sat on the garage roof corner for about 5 years now. 

  
Cold cast Bronze statue outdoor. Verdigris. Oxidisation.

And here is an example of a dark marble with bronze swirls Buddha that has been inside and oxidising for longer than the outside one.

 Cold cast bronze statue natural oxidisation indoors.

 

The 2nd choice is to protect the bronze from the air so that it won’t oxidise.    

You can create a layer between the bronze and the air by rubbing wax over the piece to stop the air coming in contact with the bronze, bees wax or a good non coloured wax would work best. You could also if you want lacquer the statue with clear varnish which you can get easily in spray cans. You will have to keep repeating this to keep the air out.
If you wish to keep the statue shiny you can gently buff with a soft duster (this may take a while) or use a soft mop of the type for polishing the body work on your car. Please do this very carefully our pieces are not solid bronze but, as we keep saying a thin coat of bronze on top of the reconstituted marble, so if you do this too much you will get through to the marble below.

Buffing wheel for polishing cold cast marble

This answer is as true for outdoor statues as indoor, which leads me onto.  

 

How to care for cold cast white marble in a general way.

Well in our opinion reconstituted marble is as good as natural marble and in some ways better, as it has no inbuilt fault lines to split along. Our advice is to treat you statue as if it’s marble.
Polish it with a soft cloth or buff it to a shine with a rotary buffer if you desire. Small dust that can get trapped in fine crevices can be easily moved with a stiff clean paint brush or that little brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner is a great thing too.  

Can I wash it?

Yes you can. Wash your statue in warm water and leave to dry in the sun.

One funny story; a client of ours washed a statue we had made and then put it back on his fireplace. This was a felted statue and we use a water soluble glue to adhere the felt to the marble, the felt under the statue got damp when he washed the statue and inevitably when he went to move the statue later it was bonded to his fireplace. A careful application of water to the base of the statue will re dampen the glue and will release the captive, but our advice is to let the statue dry in the open air with the base not touching a flat surface (say on its side) 


I use a large pair of hands as a soap dish in the bathroom and of course they do get left over soap building up in them. Just wash with a stiff brush in warm water or pop them in the dishwasher if you can’t be bothered to scrub the soap off for 2 minutes, which is all it takes to bring them back.

Before washing:
Cold cast marble soap dish before washing.      Cold cast marble soap dish after washing.


Washing our cold cast marble statues will eventually mean you lose some of the original shine but the effect is just as lovely.     

Whichever of our cold cast, reconstituted marble statues you chose to own, you are welcome at any time to contact us to ask about caring for it. Our email address  is on the contacts page of the website, or give us a call and we will talk you through what to do, as long as it isn’t the middle of the night.
www.marbleart.fr


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